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Fox Point-Bayside gets grievance procedure in place

Teachers union subject to new policy when contract expires in 2012

Sept. 20, 2011

Fox Point - Fox Point-Bayside is the latest North Shore school district to comply with a state mandate requiring a grievance procedure be in place by Oct. 1.

After numerous reviews in the past several months, and two formal readings at School Board meetings, elected officials on Monday approved the policy. Fox Point-Bayside still has a collective bargaining agreement in place this school year for teachers. While the agreement contains a grievance policy, a standalone document had to be approved to comply with Gov. Scott Walker's Act 10 legislation.

District Administrator Rachel Boechler described the adopted policy as a "softened" version of a boilerplate version that had been created for all statewide districts by the Wisconsin Association of School Boards.

"We wanted it to be professional and collaborative," Boechler said. "We pulled away from the (WASB) model and made it less legalistic and harsh."

Districts band together

The adopted policy came after collaboration with a consortium of seven neighboring districts. In addition to Fox Point-Bayside, Brown Deer, Germantown, Greendale, Sussex Hamilton, Oconomowoc, Pewaukee and Whitefish Bay reviewed the language with input from one legal counsel representative.

Fox Point-Bayside's policy includes a three-step process for any employee having a grievance regarding safety, discipline and termination. The first step involves filing a written grievance with the district administrator. If the grievance is not settled at the initial phase, it proceeds to an impartial hearing officer that will be selected by the district. The final step, failing prior resolution, calls for a review by the School Board.

Each step includes a specific timetable, outlining when the employee and person rendering the decision needs to take action.

Boechler said existing grievance procedures already in place will be followed for employees with a collective bargaining agreement. In 2012-13, the policy adopted Monday will apply to employees across the district when all existing collective bargaining agreements expire.

In addition to the grievance procedure, the eight districts within the consortium have been working together to draft language for each district's employee handbook.

"The remaining elements of the handbook draft will be shared with the (Fox Point-Bayside) board throughout the year with the intention of having an adopted handbook in place by early spring," Boechler said.

Employee feedback will be sought throughout the review process, Boechler said.

"However, it is the district's right and responsibility to put a handbook in place without negotiating particular elements of it as outlined in Act 10," she added.

- Dave Fidlin

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